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EditorialGeneralLiberia news

Editorial: Compulsory helmet wearing requires caution

The Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Madam Jane A. MaCauley, raised the concern that compulsory helmet wearing by passengers riding commercial motorcycles, as mandated by the Liberia National Police, has an associated risk of pathogenic microorganisms (bacterial or fungi) transmission between passengers through sharing helmets, which could potentially lead to infections. This needs urgent attention.

The NPHIL Boss expressed that the government is also concerned about potential unintended consequences involving bike riders and passengers, particularly the latter, who exchange helmets from one destination to another.

Director General MaCauley said the current exercise is meant to help mitigate the potential health risk of infectious disease spreading among passengers who may travel by motorcycle.

The NPHIL strongly recommends that all motorcyclists and passengers adhere to effective hygiene practices, including motorcyclists cleaning their helmets regularly (in between passengers’ use, daily, weekly, and monthly by using disinfectant spray); avoid placing gloves inside the helmets and passengers should consider covering their heads before wearing helmets and preferably wearing nose masks for additional health protocol.

Besides, NPHIL is recommending that passengers who frequently travel by motorcycle should consider carrying personal helmets and sanitizers, among others, for precautionary health measures.

It is important that the public heed these early warning and precautionary measures to avoid any unintended future outbreak of infectious disease that could thwart current efforts by the Police to ensure public safety.

We wholeheartedly support the police’s endeavor, but it is prudent that the LNP remain engaged with relevant institutions to avoid a relapse into a national health crisis that this country does not want.

Passengers sharing one helmet on a daily basis pose a serious health risk, which the government should address by putting in place all necessary mechanisms to keep the population safe.

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The Liberia National Police finds itself in a dilemma, as it acts to protect lives and property, especially regarding the new protocol introduced for motorbike taxi riders and passengers. All hands are needed on deck to avoid a catastrophic boomerang on a good intention.

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